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Your Career Site: Measure What Matters

Brand and Candidate Experience

Career sites are a central element in every candidate journey.

What are the ingredients you need to throw into the mix to end up with a beautifully-baked careers site? What are the key things to include to make something engaging and informative which brings you the right candidates and helps you build a talent community to draw from whenever the need arises?

What your careers website needs to be successful

There are many building blocks that go into a well-designed career site, but the items below are where you need to start first. Buckle up, here’s all you need to know…

Measure what matters

When I speak to clients about the performance of their career websites and job pages, all too often one thing becomes apparent: they’re measuring the vanity metrics instead of the meaningful metrics. For example, it’s not about the amount of traffic your careers site receives, it’s about the numbers of applicants that are right for you.

If you’re wading through dozens of applications and the majority of them aren’t the right fit, you need to be looking at your content and how you’re framing your Employee Value Proposition—what we at Ph. call the ‘give and get’. Make sure your content is flagging up harsh realities that will repel the many and attract the few. It’s better to have a few of the right candidates apply than hundreds of the wrong ones.

The metrics to measure are the ones which help please Google, which will in turn help with the ranking of your careers site:

  • Bounce rate. Make sure a candidate doesn't leave after looking at just one page. It's important you keep the candidate engaged and have them look at other pages and content. That tells Google your website is of value. Your job pages will be a key entry point, so this is the big test.
  • New sessions/average time on site. This is similar to the bounce rate, but it’s about how long the candidate sticks around on your site. Give them plenty of great content to educate them.
  • Page Speed. This is one of the experience metrics Google will rank you for. The benchmark is under 3 seconds. For every second after that, you lose 10% of your audience. Yup, 10%. Page speed matters.

Additionally to measuring metrics, don’t forget to build your careers site with Google in mind. Use Schema markup to give Google plenty of information about the content of your site. Be inclusive and accessible - make sure your content can be read, understood and acted on by everyone. Have localised content for a global careers site, speak in the native tongue where applicable.

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Give job descriptions the Hollywood treatment

It never ceases to amaze me when I visit retail websites that provide exhaustive amounts of information about their products - such as multiple photos, full specifications, size, materials and provenance, as well as customer reviews and plenty of calls to action - only to then visit the company’s careers page and be presented with a bland bullet-point list of responsibilities and the skills and qualifications needed. What a turn-off. Why don’t they give the same level of detail and energy to their jobs page? They’re missing out on a powerful way to amplify their employer brand.

When creating your employer brand, you will have conducted persona research to get to know the pain points, motivators and aspirations of those that work with you currently. By leaning into that research, you can appeal more directly to the personas you are trying to attract. How? By using a bit of Hollywood magic!

We use a storytelling formula for job descriptions that’s based on the formula used in many successful films.

Lead with empathy, address the persona, in particular their wants and needs, and pain points. Maybe there’s a statement to make that connects with their interests and emotions.

Then create curiosity, playing on your experiences or culture to create a sense of curiosity in the candidates’ mind.

Add something surprising by revealing a secret thing candidates might not have known about working with you.

Then reveal some insight and information into what it’s like to work at your organisation, and weave in role responsibilities.

Finally, inspire some action with a final statement that makes a candidate hit the apply button. Lights, camera, action!

It’s also vital to make sure that your job pages are performing well in terms of readability, sentiment, gender bias, load speed and functionality. If you haven’t yet tried our Job Page Grader, then copy one of your job description page’s URL—or that of a competitor—and paste it into the page grader tool. You’ll get a full audit of its performance and a download to guide you to better performing pages. Combine that guidance with the Hollywood formula and that’s going to be one hell of a job description page.

The impact of a well-executed Employer Brand on your careers website

A well-executed employer brand makes finding the right people easier, quicker and cheaper, and they stick around longer because they’re happier. It means company culture, attitude and values defined, positioned and explained. It means people who enjoy working together. It means everyone loves their job.

Employer branding is the continued effort to capture, distil and define how you truly make people think and feel when working in an organisation. It usually has the intention of influencing it for the better, in line with beliefs, values and business strategy. It’s not words, logos, or colours. Rather, it encapsulates the very essence of who you are and the experiences you create for your employees. This is why a designed employer brand will include the aspirational direction of an organisation, to help state the purpose and direction of where the organisation is going in the future.

Imagine how a candidate feels when presented with all of that powerful information when they come to your careers website! They find it packed with great material tailored to the personas you want to attract, with user-generated content from existing employees, with location-specific information to help reassure candidates nervous about relocating, with a technically smooth experience on every page… the impact is enormous.

You become a destination employer, an employer of choice within your sector. The best talent takes notice of you and wants to work with you. The most ambitious graduates have you at the top of their list of people to talk to, the experienced people are queuing up to offer you their services. Your business grows, hits its targets, the bottom line gets healthier and healthier. It’s all achievable.


About the Author

Jim is Managing Director at Ph.Digital, where he's been a restless and driven innovator for the past ten years. He designs powerful employer brands and award-winning career site experiences that help people find jobs they love.

Profile Photo of Jim Taylor